Long Island's

Rich Railroading



The Riverhead Restoration Site is located in Riverhead, at the junction of the North and South Forks of Long Island. The majority of the Museum's rolling stock resides here and restoration work on the rolling stock is carried out here. Our Visitors Center has small displays and a fully stocked gift shop. During the spring, summer and autumn (except in inclement weather) our World's Fair Miniature train is in operation and available for rides around the site property.


The building that is the current visitor's center was acquired from the Nassau Suffolk Lumber company. Records in our possession show that as early as 1885 the building was used as a lumber yard named Corwin and Vail. The building had office space in the front and second floor. An interesting feature of the visitors center building is that while the front is of wood frame construction, the last 15' or so are brick. This area was apparently used to store paint and we believe it was made of brick to act as a fire break. Other buildings on the site at the time of our acquisition were in poor condition and were demolished shortly thereafter. The other building remaining from our acquisition is a large rectangular building (about 25 feet by 110 feet) that is being used as a carpentry shop, equipment repair shop, and storage. The building has recently been named in honor of Ronald Freeman for his dedicated work at the Museum prior to his untimely death in May 2004. A portion of the Riverhead site is parcel of land approximate 70' feet wide along Griffing Ave., which is owned by the MTA/LIRR and licensed to RMLI. It is currently vacant land. However as far back as 1891, a turntable, water tower, and pump house to fill the water were located in the south east corner of the property (close to the existing tracks). It is not clear when the turntable was removed but we believe it was sometime around WWII. It was no longer useable since the engines of that time had gotten too long to be turned on the short turntable. By 1969 both the table and the water tower had been removed. The foundation of this table and of the water tower are still on the property.

Interior work in the Gift Shop and first floor and second floor has been completed as well as the exterior work on the alcove at the entrance of the building. A new roof and repainting of this portion of the exterior have also been completed but is now in the need of a new coat The second floor now has three rooms in the front of the building which are used as a board/meeting room, engineering office, and executive office. Work has also been completed on the rear portion of the second floor, which will contain space for our record retention area. Construction of shelving, installation of file cabinets and desks, and setup of a local computer network is currently in progress. Still to be done are completion of an enclosure around the heating unit and securing of entrance ramp supports in concrete. A generous contribution by Empire Carpet was the donation and installation of carpet in the second floor conference room, hallway, and reception area. Additional generous donations of the conference furniture were made by The M & T Company. The shelving and file cabinets for the record retention area were acquired with a Legislative Initiative Grant from the State of New York.

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#200 is the world's first all aluminum double decker passenger car. It was built in 1932 as a joint project between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA).

The Long Island Rail Road was always looking to increase their passenger capacity. At the time #200 was built, the solution was to build a coach with the floor mounted half way up the side of the car. On either side of the car, there are two facing bench seats which are elevated. Between these pairs of elevated seats there are another pair of seats that are located in a step down. Every seating area on the coach has a double window, so every passenger has a view. #200 had seating for 120 passengers. The following fleet of double-decked cars, after incorporating modifications, could hold 132 passengers.

Being a prototype, #200 was not equipped with control stands or traction motors. This car was designated as class T-62 when in service for the LIRR.

Car #200 is on display next to the restoration site in Riverhead.

Due to the fact that #200 is made of aluminum, restoration of the car is very tedious work. Paint stripping cannot be done using conventional methods such as sandblasting and wire wheels. The Museum recently received a grant from the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) for the stripping of the old paint. This award was matched by one of our members, enabled us to hire a contractor to remove the old paint.

The paint removal was done using ground up walnut shells, such that the body of the car was not damaged, since sand and other harsh materials normally used for paint stripping can ruin the delicate aluminum skin on the car.

Currently the entire car has been stripped and painting of the car with primer and the proper Tuscan Red finish paint has been completed. The final finish coat of Tuscan Red paint will applied when the weather permits in the spring. Once painting is complete the lettering and car number will be restored. Cleaning of the car interior has started.

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Car number 7737 is a class BM-62 combination baggage and mail car. This car was constructed in 1928. It was last used by the LIRR maintenance of way department.

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This caboose was built for the Long Island Railroad by Morrison International in 1963 and was used on LIRR freights until the early 1980's, when it was retired and saved for preservation.

Until the Railroad Museum of Long Island's acquisition of its current facility in Riverhead, caboose C-68 was used as the Riverhead offices and shelter for volunteers. It is now an integral part of the site tour, where visitors can tour the inside and see what working conditions were like for the crews working on a freight train. The caboose was recently moved from the location across Griffing Avenue from the Visitor's Center to a new location adjacent to the Visitor's Center to make room for a recently acquired 25 ton GE switching locomotive.

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The Museum acquired the ex-Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal No. 16 from New York Regional Rail (Cross Harbor Railroad) on January 31, 1999. This engine has the distinction of being the last steam engine to operate within New York City limits, operating as late as October, 1963, long after the Long Island Rail Road went off the coal standard.

The engine was built by Porter in 1923 for the Astoria Power & Light Company as their No. 5. Subsequently, the it was sold to Fleishman’s Yeast Co. in Peekskill, NY, and then to the Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co. in Alabama. In 1938, it was sold to the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad (BEDT), one of the many waterfront railways along the shores of the East River and New York Harbor. The BEDT numbered it as their No. 16.

This is where the engine gained most of its notoriety, operating 8 years longer than any LIRR steamer. For this reason, many of the BEDT’s steamers have been preserved.

At the time her acquisition in 1999 by the Railroad Museum of Long Island many of her parts were missing. These have since been acquired for her eventual restoration. Now sitting on steel beams, her drivers will be re-installed in conjunction with RMLI's pending Site Development Plan.

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In October 1954, the Long Island Rail Road placed an order for twenty-five 120 seat commuter coaches for locomotive drawn trains. This order, delivered from the Pullman Standard's Osgood Bradley plant in Worcester, Massachusetts, was delivered in June, 1955 and the cars were numbered 2901 thru 2925. Coach 2924 was included in this order.

The coach soldiered on in commuter service behind steam and diesel locomotives until Fall, 1999, when the car was retired in favor of the railroad's new diesel fleet, serving a remarkable 44 year career in commuter service on Long Island.

Coach 2924 was selected by the Railroad Museum of Long Island to be preserved due to its historic past. On October 8, 1955, coach 2924, along with coach 2923, which is identical to coach 2933 at the Riverhead site, participated in an "End of Steam Ceremony." Coach 2924's role was to carry a carload of Boy Scouts from Brooklyn behind Steam Engine #39 to Hicksville, where it met nose-to-nose with Steam Engine #35, carrying coach 2923. Dubbed "Operation Changeover - Boy Scouts Rail Jamboree," a small ceremony was held at Hicksville, with speeches touting progress. Coach 2924 was uncoupled from Engine #39 and coupled to Diesel #1556 which then returned with the Boy Scouts to Jamaica. Coach 2923 was uncoupled from Engine #35 and coupled to Diesel #1555 which then returned to Riverhead. Engine #39 was coupled to Engine #35 and the two dead-headed to Morris Park to complete the ceremony.

Coaches 2924 and 2933 are now on display at the Museum's Riverhead restoration site. They are undergoing a restoration as time and finances permit with eventual goal of returning them to operational status.

Our recent "Buy a Window" campaign has enabled us to purchase new windows for both cars and have money left over to fund other needed restoration such as overhauling the generator sets and repairing the floors. The windows have been picked up from the seller and are currently in storage. Plaques will be installed in the finished cars to credit those who purchased the windows.

Work has continued on the interior of car 2933 where after removing a couple of seats to investigate a hole in the floor the damage was found to be worse than was originally thought. The steel on the bottom of the floor was completely rusted away in several areas and will need to be replaced. Currently the seats and interior floor have been removed from the west half of the car and arrangements are in progress to have some of the floor structural members re-welded. After that a new floor will be installed and the seats replaced. We expect to have to do the same for the east half of the car and for all of coach 2924.

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Baggage car #7723 is a Class B-62 baggage car that was built in 1928. Until the Railroad Museum of Long Island's acquisition of its current Museum facility in Riverhead, this car was used a workshop and storage car for the restoration effort being carried on for Engine#39. This car is currently used as a tool and storage car at the Riverhead restoration site.

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The railroad crossing shanty was used to protect the crossing gatemen from the weather. The gatemen manually lowered and raised the crossing gates to protect the public from approaching trains. When the LIRR installed automatic gates in the early 1950's, these shanties became excess and all but a few were scrapped. This one was located in Inwood, Queens, New York and was saved from the scrap heap by Mary E. Smith, now a retired LIRR electrician. She had it relocated to her backyard where she used it as a tool shed. In the early 1990's, prior to moving from Long Island, she donated it to RMLI and it was relocated to the RMLI Greenport site. RMLI subsequently moved it the Riverhead Restoration shop and a group of volunteer carpenters refurbished it to "like new" condition. In the summer of 2003 it was moved outdoors and is now being used as a crossing guard shanty for the miniature railroad and to house the controls for the Garden Railway System.

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Long Island Railroad #39 is a G-5s class steam locomotive with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement. #39 was one of 31 G-5s locomotives built in the Pennsylvania Railroad's Juniata shops for Long Island commuter service.

The G-5s class locomotive was originally designed by the Pennsylvania Railroad for the rigorous job of commuter service. Commuter service requires locomotives that can start and stop trains often. The G-5s is designed to rapidly accelerate a train of ten or more passenger coaches to over 70 mph, then, after running several miles, bring the train to a stop at the next station. This must be done over and over again. The G-5s handled this task well. This locomotive class first entered commuter service for the Pennsylvania Railroad on branchlines around Pittsburgh, PA in 1923.

At this time the Long Island Railroad, the largest commuter railroad in the country, was a Pennsylvania Railroad subsidiary. The Long Island was undergoing a modernization that would make it the first US operator of an all steel passenger car fleet by 1927. This growth meant heavier trains. The G-5s was a perfect fit for the Long Island's needs.

In January, 1924, the Pennsylvania Railroad built four class G-5s locomotives, #20 - #23, for the Long Island Railroad. In January, 1925, five more were built, #24 through #28. #29 though #38 were delivered in 1928 and #39 through #50 arrived in 1929.

These Ten-Wheelers provided the bulk of Long Island's motive power until dieselization in 1955.

Our G-5s, #39, primarily served the Oyster Bay branch in Nassau County. She was the last steam engine to travel to Greenport in June, 1955, and was one of two steam engines to participate in the official "end of steam" ceremonies on October 8, 1955. The other steam engine in this ceremony, G-5s #35, is also preserved by The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in Oyster Bay, NY. Also participating in this ceremony were two Alco RS-3 diesel locomotives. One of these diesels was RS-3 #1556, also in the Railroad Museum of Long Island's collection!

#39's Specifications

Top Speed ............................................. 85+ mph
Design Speed ........................................ 70 mph
Tractive Effort ........................................ 41,328 lb
Driving Wheel Diameter .......................... 68"
Boiler Pressure....................................... 205 lbs per sq inch
Factor Of Adhesion ................................. 4.31
Cylinder Horsepower ............................... 2178
Cylinder Diameter ................................... 24"
Cylinder Stoke ........................................ 28"
Total Weight .......................................... 237,000 lb
Length Over Strikers .............................. 38' 3 3/8"
Boiler Diameter ..................................... 76 3/4"

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On October 10th, 1999, the Railroad Museum took possession of a narrow gauge 0-4-0T type steam locomotive, built by H.K. Porter.

The #1 was built by the H.K. Porter Locomotive works in 1921 for the Defiance Coal Company in Mentmore, New Mexico. A 40" gauge railroad was operated between their two mines and the coal tipple at Mentmore, a distance of about 1 3/4 miles by rail. Coal was loaded in small jennies, called "pit cars" from the mine entrance to the coal tipple. The coal company closed in 1952, with the last run by rail taking place on March 28th of that year.

After the mine ceased operations, it was purchased by Dr. Stanley Groman, who had it shipped during January 1953 to Sandy Pond in Sandy Creek Township in upstate New York. This site became one of the first operating rail Museums in the country.

Known as Rail City, the operation continued until its closure on October 13, 1974. Due to its 40 inch gauge, the #1 was just a static display.

After Rail City closed, the engine sat idle until John Degan of Southampton, NY came upon the engine and purchased it from Dr. Groman's estate in the Fall of 1982. Mr. Degan began restoration of the locomotive to operating condition, changed the saddle water tank to two side saddle water tanks, and placed it on a flatbed trailer equipped with rollers. In this manner, the locomotive could be transported over the road to different events and parades across Long Island. It could then be fired up and the drivers could turn around on the trailer. When not on display, the engine was stored in Southampton.

Completing several months of negotiations, the #1 was donated to RMLI during Columbus Day weekend of 1999. In addition to the locomotive, RMLI also received two of the "pit cars" that the engine originally hauled in New Mexico which are currently awaiting restoration.

The locomotive is currently not operable, but when updated to current standards it could be fired up and run on its rollers as before

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RS-3 NUMBER 1556

Long Island Railroad's #1556 is an RS-3 diesel locomotive built by American Locomotive for the Long Island in 1955. Her original specifications are as follows:

Builder: American Locomotive
Model: RS-3
Class: AGP-16msc
Prime Mover: Diesel - model 244
Horsepower: 1600

The 1556 was equipped with multiple unit speed control. Original equipment also included a steam generator for heating steam-heated passenger cars which was removed in later years after the passenger cars were modified to no longer require steam for heating purposes. #1556 participated in the official "end of steam" ceremonies on October 8, 1955.

Recent restoration work on the locomotive includes stripping of paint and repainting of the exterior. The south side and ends have been completely stripped, a base coat of primer applied, and gray and orange paint applied. Work on the north side has started. Replacement of some sheet metal on the south side of the cab is also required as shown in the photo below. Work has also begun to re-assemble the cab interior, with some masonite walls being replaced and new insulation added. Once the walls are replaced, the cab interior will receive a fresh coat of paint. Work is being performed by Museum volunteers and volunteers from the Twin Forks Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS).

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A significant step in the development of our Riverhead site is the installation of our turntable. The turntable is necessary for our eventual goal of running Engine #39 on excursions between Riverhead and Greenport since the requirement to run forward and at the head of the train means that it must be turned around at each end. The turntable will also facilitate moving cars in and out of restoration and exhibition buildings planned for the site.

The turntable is an 85 foot "Thru Truss" design that was built in 1915 by the Canadian Bridge Company, Walkerville, Ontario, for the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada which later became part of the Canadian National or today's CN. (The Canadian Bridge Co. has long since gone out of business and Walkerville has been incorporated into Windsor, Ontario.) The turntable operated for many years at the Warren Street yard of the Canadian National Fort Erie Facility in Ontario, Canada. In 1992, after a fire at the Fort Erie roundhouse, the turntable was sold to a scrap dealer and then to the Arcade and Attica Railroad in Arcade, NY. The Arcade and Attica never installed it and the Museum purchased it in October 2001. The following spring the 60 ton turntable was moved by tractor-trailer from Arcade to Riverhead and by June 1, 2002 was placed on cribbing at our Riverhead site.

Review of drawings of the turntable and other similar ones of the same vintage show fittings to enable turning by manpower (perhaps to rotate an empty turntable to the desired position) and photographs from the late 1920's and early 1930's show a steam motor being used for rotation with the steam being drawn from the locomotive being turned. An electric motor drive was added in what we believe to be the 1938-1939 time frame from drawings of revisions to the end wheel assemblies. In addition to the turntable shown in the photo we have the center bearing, ring rail, drive motor and control house, and bridge/electrical slip ring assembly to provide electric power to the motor.

Limited availability of funds has prevented us from proceeding with design and construction of the pit and installation of the turntable. Work to date has consisted of scraping off old paint, applying a primer that chemically combines with rust, and finishing with black gloss RustOleum. "Riverhead" lettering was applied to the west side of the turntable.

The Museum would be grateful for any contributions you might make toward the installation of the turntable. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization so that any any donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. Please contact us for further information.

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1964 - 1965 WORLD'S FAIR TRAIN

The locomotive and three cars have been restored to operating condition and re-painted in the original World's Fair colors. Track has been laid in an oval approximately 670 feet long at the Riverhead site and the train is available for rides during Museum hours. Tentative plans call for the restoration of one more car. Work is also in progress on a yard in which all the cars will be kept under cover when not in use. Currently covered storage can accommodate four cars, while the engine is stored in the engine house garage.

This 16 inch gauge train was built by the Alan Herschel Company and delivered to the LIRR exhibit at the New York World's Fair in March 1964. After being part of the LIRR exhibit at the 1964-65 World's Fair, the train went to the Grumman Aerospace Corp. Calverton, NY site where it was a featured attraction at the annual Grumman Family Picnic. Upon closing of the Calverton site the train was given to the Village of Patchogue, NY which, in turn, donated it to the Museum.

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The Yard Switcher, Locomotive #399, was used for many years by the Long Island Rail Road to move engines and other rolling stock in and out of the LIRR’s Morris Park shops for repair and maintenance. It was built in August of 1958 by General Electric and is a class GS-1, better known as a 25 tonner. It has a tractive effort of 30% adhesion or 15,000 lbs. Motive power is a 150 HP diesel with a generator which in turn powers a traction motor which drives the wheels via a chain drive system. The maximum allowed speed is 20 mph. mainly because of the chain drive that actually propels the locomotive. Locomotive #399 holds 75 gallons of diesel fuel and 5 gallons of lubricating oil and is equipped with a sand box that holds 6 cubic feet of sand. The locomotive has a train brake as well as an independent brake which was not standard when #399 was built but was added later by Long Island Railroad. #399 is 8'-3/4" wide,18'-2" long, from coupler to coupler, and is 10'-3" high from the rail head. The diesel prime mover was recently replaced by the Long Island railroad and is about 1 year old. Locomotive #399 is in operating condition and all ancillary equipment such as lights, bell, horn, and windshield wipers are also fully operational.

Presently, Locomotive #399 is being restored and re-painted in one of the many color schemes that were used in its operating lifetime.

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GP-38-2 Simulator

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Donate to the Engine 39 Restoration Project!

Riverhead: Saturdays 10 AM to 4 PM Beginning April 7

Greenport: Reopens May 26 at 11 AM